Thursday, January 15, 2015

E - Voting: In the Purview of Its Reality and Practicability in Campus Election System


 E - Voting: In the Purview of Its Reality and Practicability in Campus Election System

Ismadi bin Md Badarudin, Ph.D
Faculty of Computer and Mathematic Sciences
UiTM Melaka

Mohd Ismail bin Abidin
Librarian, UiTM Melaka Jasin Branch

Mohd Ab Malek bin  Md Shah
Faculty of Laws
UiTM Melaka

Sulaiman bin Mahzan
Faculty of Computer and Mathematic Sciences
UiTM Melaka Jasin Branch



ABSTRACT
Significantly, this academic paper is aimed as a medium of intellectual discourse in discussing the implementation of e-Voting; as well as the voters’ perception pertaining to this system throughout Universiti Teknologi MARA accordingly. From the dimension of the authors’ involvement and experiences in coping with this system, such discussion caters the variety of relevant strategies towards improving such comprehension of perception and acceptance among the voters of the procedures; from the system development till its implementation holistically. Indeed, the research outcome of comparison between the voters’ perception in 2013 and 2009 campus election has included in this writing for the purpose of identifying the level of acceptance of this system. It is found out that continuous effort should be materialized in ensuring that the elements of trustworthy, security and integrity could lead towards the betterment of positive acceptance towards e- Voting system.

Keywords: e-Voting system, campus election, trustworthy, security, integrity








1.0       Introduction
Throughout along the process of democracy, the principles of just and exclusive selection are vitally crucial. In relation to this, the implementation by way of election ballot is a usual process in the determination of leaders. Yet, such continuous improvement is needed for the sake of increasing customers’ satisfaction. In contrast, the issues of cost, time and manpower constraints and shortages are too inevitably. Indeed, throughout the advancement of information technology and passionate of Y generation in exploiting the existing technology, it possibly allows the election system to be converted into election ballots electronically (e-voting). In relation to this, e-Voting System replaces the ballot traditionally whereby the voting system is accomplished through computers and thus, the voting data are stored in the computer in producing the results and the process of analysis.
In this dimension, there are a lot of previous research which have been implemented in order to identify the methodology, efficiency; as well as the their acceptance towards the e-Voting system holistically; for examples, ”The relationship between the national culture and the implementation of the e-Voting system” by Basirat, P. (2012), “Thinking outside of the ballot box: Examining public trust in E-Voting technology” by Lippert, S. K., & Ojumu, E. B. (2008), “Building secure elections: E-Voting, security, and systems theory” oleh Moynihan, D. P. (2004), (Peng, K., 2011, Pieters, W., & Robert, v. H., 2007, Prandini, M., & Ramilli, M., 2012 and Schaupp, L. C., & Carter, L., 2005).

2.0       Implementation e-Voting system at UiTM
The implementation of electronic polling at the university has commenced since 2006 when the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) (has changed its name later to the Ministry of Education (MOE)) has proposed the electoral process of Students’ Representative Council (SRC) to be carried out electronically; provided that it can run more efficient and systematic. In Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) is one of the pioneers among the public universities which has implemented the e-Voting system since 2006 via some selected state campuses and eventually for the whole branches in 2007 holistically.  
The recent statistic of campus election conducted by UiTM Malacca City Campus (known as SRC 2013/2014) on 27 November 2013 has stated that 95.41% voters out of 3574 students from 3868 who are eligible to vote) meanwhile on 8 December 2014, the number of voters at UiTM (Melaka) Jasin campus has stated that 84.01% voters out of 3537 students from 4210 who are eligible to vote. Apart from UiTM, there are some universities like the International Islamic University (IIUM), University of Malaya, and currently, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) have been using the voting system electronically for their campus election known as e-Kira in October 2013. According to the management representatives of USM, this electronic system could save time whereby it only takes about three hours after the voting period ended; moreover it is transparent and the accuracy is highly guaranteed (Berita Harian, 23 October 2013).
The development of the electronic voting system begins from the study of campus election which is implemented ​​manually. This study covers the election procedures; together with the procedures for disposal and counting. Some of the findings of the behavioural studies which involve technology adaptation and the factors of user resistance to change are also taken into account in drafting the initial design of  e-Voting system (Basirat, P. (2012), Lippert, S. K., & Ojumu, E. B. (2008), Schaupp, & L. C., & Carter, L. (2005)).
Indeed, it is undeniably true that the factors of scepticism towards the implementation of e-voting system lead to in-depth study of the implementation of e-Voting procedures which plays an important role in addressing the issues of reliability, consistency, confidentially, data security  and transparency (integrity) (Lippert, SK, & Ojumu, EB (2008), Schaupp, LC, & Carter, L. (2005), and Oravec, JA (2005)).

2.1       Implementation Strategies
The main challenge in the e-Voting system is; it is carried out in 'real time' from the beginning to the end of the polling process to ensure that the system continues to operate without any technical problems and electrical issues that need to be taken into account to improve its reliability. The implementation of e-voting systems should minimize the impact of user resistance to change. In this context, the three elements which should be emphasized are:

i) The level of confidentiality Although the record of such votes are stored in the database system, the audit trail is only possibly to be implemented  in such a way to the extent of unique security ID and only known by the voters only. This is to ensure the confidentiality of the vote.

ii) The security votes The safety of voting data stored in the database cannot be changed by the operator administrator system and voters. This is due to the fact that the security feature has been programmed in the e-Voting system.

iii) The safety of the system there are particular procedures in the operation and implementation of the system created by the separation of the scope of the duties of each person involved. System administrators are not given any access to the program code. Besides, programmers are not given access to the live data sheets (live data).On the other hand, users are not be given access to the closed (shut down) system. Chairman of the polling centres are only given the access to start and close the e-Voting system. Basically, the implementation of e-Voting can be done morphology Mantropolitan Area Network (MAN) or 'extranet', however, the implementation of the environment Local Area Network (LAN) or 'Intranet' is better to ensure that the issues of perception of transparency, data manipulation and others can be hindered.
 










Diagram 1: Implementation of e-Voting system within the environment of LAN

Such implementation of e-Voting system takes into consideration such aspects such as time saving, minimizing staff involvement, lower costs and improving the efficiency. In relation to this, there are four strategies which are:
(i) Reducing the time in the voting process. Student voters only need to show their student card / proof material and the selection of candidates can be done on a computer shortly. On average, the polling process begins by entering a matric number and id number and the selection process will take less than 20 seconds.
(ii) Minimal staff involvement. Those staffs involved are responsible to ensure that the voting process will run smoothly and all the calculations and reports are processed automatically by the system. The number of staff involved in this process can be reduced up to 50%, especially in the process of counting and issuing a report.
 (iii) Minimal cost. The reason is; the use ballot paper is not necessary and thus; it can reduce the cost significantly.
 (iv) Increasing its efficiency. The system can produce the results and automatic report more accurately and quickly.

Besides, the e-Voting system user interface is also designed in such a simple way which resembles the ballot paper used for the sake of minimizing the the time for voting process (refer to Diagram 2).  

Diagram 2:  The voting process which resembles ballot paper

3.0       Research Methodology
In order to view the effectiveness of e-voting systems are implemented and UiTM students view the SRC elections of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, a study on the perception of the use of e-Voting system has been implemented. The results of this study are reported in this paper. This study is a pilot study to look into the use of e-Voting system for the election among college students and to explore students' perceptions of the e-Voting system and its use among them. Respondents for this study included students in the Bachelor of UiTM (Melaka) City Campus and a new PFI Campus namely UiTM (Melaka) Jasin campus. The rationale for selecting these students is because they are the younger generation that is determined by the use of e-Voting system for choosing government electoral future. The data collection instrument was a questionnaire consisting of nine questions (opened-ended questionnaire) and also an interview session. The researchers have compiled the list of factors and perceptions of the use of e-Voting after referring to the literature. A total of 261 respondents have participated in this study by using convenient sampling technique, whereby 9 candidates among the contestants have been selected for the sake of obtaining better information pertaining to the opinion and efficiency of voting electronically. Data collected through the responses received, collected (via questionnaire) and analysed using SPSS version 20.0 for descriptive statistics and the elaboration process variables of percentage and frequency. On the other hand, for the interview data, the researchers made the report findings more detailed in order to get a better result accordingly.

4.0       Research Findings
4.1       Respondents’ background
The questionnaires are distributed directly by way of convenience sampling among the respondents among UiTM Melaka students (consist of UiTM (Melaka) City Campus and Jasin Campus). Based on the responds received, majority of the respondents are female students (83.9%) whereby only 16.1% represents male students.

4.2       Awareness of the Availability of the e-Voting system among Students
From the questionnaire data, the awareness of the availability of the e-Voting system among students is extremely high whereby majority of them aware and know the definition of e-Voting system (75%). Based on the Table 1 as shown below, 39% of the total female respondents and 8 % male respondents stated that they know and aware of this system accordingly. Besides that, for the findings of interviews, the candidates are aware of the existence or use of e-voting system because they have used this system before, and also they have given a comprehensive briefing by the executor body (management of UiTM) on the application of this system; as well as the transparency of the development of this system. In this situation, there is a candidate informed that they have witnessed the electronic voting process on their own; starting from the process of before voting, during and after the voting as a whole.

Frequency
Percentage %
Awareness of the definition of the e-Voting system
Yes
197
75.5
No
64
24.5
Male (Yes)
28
8
Female (Yes)
169
39

Table 1: Definition of the e-Voting
Next, the respondents also were asked such questions which are related to their knowledge or how they know about the availability of the e-Voting system (see Table 2). In this situation, they were given the opportunity to choose more than one answers regarding to the question whether they know / knew of the existence of this system from their peers, lecturers, university websites, Division of Student Affairs, Division of Academic Affairs, banners / posters, faculty and others. Based on the responds received, there are three main sources of awareness (see Table 2) among the students pertaining to the availability of this system which include (i) through the Division of Academic Affairs (100%), (ii) through the portal / website of the University (49.4%) and (iii) through their lecturers (38.3%).
Further, 17.2% of respondents stated that they know about this system from the faculty, and 15.7% stated that they get the information from their peers. This reflects the efforts and commitments made ​​by the Division of Student Affairs, lecturers and faculty of the respondents have strongly influenced the process of information dissemination, especially to create such awareness of the availability of the e-Voting system. Surprisingly, although the Division of Student Affairs has been struggling to manage the electoral process of e-Voting, only 2.7% of respondents were aware through this medium whereas 1.1% of them know through banners / posters that are pasted.

Frequency
Percentage%
Sources of awareness towards the application of the e-Voting system for campus election
University websites
129
49.4
Banner/Posters
3
1.1
Division of Student Affairs
7
2.7
Division of Academic Affairs
261
100
Faculty
45
17.2
Lecturers
100
38.3
Peers
41
15.7
Others
7
2.7
Table 2: Sources of awareness towards the application of the e-Voting system for campus election

4.3 Students’ perception in using the e-Voting system developed by the university
Prior to observing the extent of students’ perception towards the e-Voting system developed by the university, respondents are asked earlier whether they have ever used the system an also how many times they have used the system for the campus election. Based on the responds, about 81.2 % of the respondents have used the system previously.  From the total amount, 81.2% has experienced once, 10.7% have voted twice and about 5.4 % of the respondents have used the system 3 times and above throughout their studies at the university (refer to Table 3).
Table 3: Frequency of using the e-Voting system

Frequency
Percentage (%)

Once
212
81.2
Twice
28
10.7
3 times and above
14
5.4
99 times
7
2.7
Total
261
100.0

In order to observe students’ perception towards the e-Voting system, respondents have been asked with 7 questions regarding to their evaluation towards this system whether they Strongly Agree (5) or Strongly Disagree (1) (refer to Table 4). The statement which represents number 3 means that the respondents are not sure towards the question given. Throughout the responds received, majority of them agreed that this system is verily useful, friendly user, attractive to be used, secured, protecting their privacy, trustworthy which eventually influenced them to apply this system. The data gathered shows that 45.6% have agreed whereas 34.5% of them have totally agreed that this system is totally useful for campus election. On the other hand, only 2.7% - 5.4 % of the respondents stated that they are strongly disagree and disagree with the questionnaire given. Similarly, such interviews were conducted to ascertain the views of the candidates pertaining to the implementation of e-voting system implemented electronically. They strongly agree that the system is very useful to use, user friendly, information and user data is kept safely. For example, one of the contestants stated that; before this, he just went to vote as instructed by his lecturer without bothering of this system. Yet, after becoming a contestants and was briefed regarding to the function of this system, he found that the system is very good, useful, systematic, effective and such outcome of the vote could be identified more quickly and accurately than the conventional methods. Furthermore, he also claimed that it would be better if this system can be further expanded to the national level, which is to be applied for the general election. On the other hand, another candidate opined that; if this system can be carried out at the national level, the government could save not only time and energy but also the high expenses; rather than if the election system is to be carried out through traditional method. In terms of data confidentiality issues, he has a great confidence pertaining to the level of confidentiality of data stored, but if it is going to be carried out at a higher level, this system should be improved in order to guarantee the confidentiality of data from any cyber-attacks / hacker as a  whole.

Strongly Disagree
(1) %
Disagree (2) %
Uncertain (3)
%
Agree (4)
%
Strongly Agree
(5) %
The system is useful
2.7
0
14.2
45.6
34.5
The system is friendly user
2.7
0
13.8
58.6
21.8
The system is attractive to be used
0
5.4
19.2
48.3
24.1
The system is secured
2.7
5.4
20.7
41.8
26.4
The system protects your privacy
2.7
0
29.9
38.3
26.1
The system is trustworthy
3.1
2.7
29.1
33.7
28.4
I feel that the its security system influences me to use it
3.1
2.7
19.9
41.8
29.5

Table 4: Students’ perception towards the e-Voting system

4.4 Findings from Auditor’s Report during the election process
In fact, among the researchers, one of them has got involved in monitoring the polling process electronically. Generally, he was satisfied on how the process of this system works and also finds that the system runs properly and appropriately. In fact, the efficacy of such data seen is assessed and done by all of the candidates and their representatives; together being witnessed by the e-voting committee appointed by the executor.
Apart from that, there are some suggestions for the betterment of such system to ensure that the election process more orderly, efficient and transparent; inter alia, firstly, all officers who were stationed at polling stations should be at the stations assigned at least 5 minutes before 8.00 am and should also make preparations (paste signage, labeling and others) earlier which is at least a day before the polling day. On the other hand, a short briefing related to the officer by the committee should be implemented before 8:20 am so that the voting process can be implemented better, orderly and also to avoid from any misunderstandings between the different committees. Indeed, each of them should know the function of each job. Moreover, the clerk must supply the voters with proper instructions on how to use supplied to the voter ID and student card verification before allowing them to go for voting. Meanwhile, the number of officer in polling stations should also be increased to a total of 2-3 people in order to help students to vote and other purposes (showing post voting / outwards and others). Besides, a list of electors or revisions of eligible voters may be improved by checking through the computer rather than using manual which is very slow which eventually the students have to queue; waiting for their turn and as a result, it has been found that there are some students who refused to vote due to having to wait too long. From the context of space, the location of polling is also less suitable; despite all the existing equipment are complete at the polling stations. Thus, it may be proposed for the election process to take place in the auditorium or hall which are more convenience.


5.0       Discussion and Conclusion
Generally speaking, most of the students have used the e-Voting system and feel that the system is very useful, safe and has a trustworthy pertaining to its level of security. Conversely, there are also some respondents who feel that the system should be improved continuously so that its confidentiality and the security of the voters’ information are secured.
Management strategies with regards to the on going basis in the discussions for seeking new initiatives and improving efforts to produce a medium for information delivery and services to be which are more creative and innovative in terms of reliability, security and integrity of e-voting is a good effort for the sake of enhancing the positive perception towards the implementation of e-voting system. This is because, the findings reported aforesaid shows a positive improvement towards the whole items in using the e-Voting system as compared to the research which has been conducted by the author in 2009 as shown in Table 5.

Item
2009
(%)
2013
(%)
Frequency of increasing users’ perception in 2103
(%)
The system is useful
78
94.3
16.3
The system is friendly user
81
94.2
13.2
The system is attractive to be used
74
91.6
17.6
The system is secured
74
88.9
14.9
The system protects your privacy
74
94.3
20.3
The system is trustworthy
76
91.2
15.2
I feel that the its security system influences me to use it
71
91.2
20.2

Table 5: Comparison of Users’ Perception towards the e - Voting System for 2009 dan 2013 research
The researchers concluded that the successfulness in implementing computerised election is not merely confined to the e-Voting system but also supported by the implementation procedures; as well as executor groups which are regarded to be the vital aspect of discussion in this research as shown in Diagram 3.
 




Diagram 3: The implementation of e-Voting system which are supported by the procedures and executor group

In a nutshell, it is recommended that the use of e-Voting system should be maximized greatly; not only within the campus elections but also maybe be applied for a general election at the national level. In fact, the executor must establish bilateral communication with the users / voters based on the responds which is aimed for seeking a continuous improvement to ensure that standards of excellent performance is achievable in future.



6.0       Bibliography

(2013). Laporan Pilihanraya Jawatankuasa Perwakilan Pelajar ( JPP 2013/2014). Universiti
Teknologi Bandaraya Melaka.

(22 Oktober 2013). Pilihan raya USM guna sistem e-kira. Berita Harian, 22 Oktober 2013,
ms 17.
Basirat, P. (2012). The relationship between the national culture and the implementation of the e-Voting system. International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, 3(6), 811.

Lippert, S. K., & Ojumu, E. B. (2008). Thinking outside of the ballot box : examining public trust in E-Voting technology. Journal of Organizational and End User Computing, 20(3), 57-80.

Schaupp, L. C., & Carter, L. (2005). E-Voting: From apathy to adoption. Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 18(5), 586-601.

Moynihan, D. P. (2004). Building secure elections : E-Voting, security, and systems theory. Public Administration Review,64(5), 515-528.

Oravec, J. A. (2005). Preventing E-Voting hazards : the role of information professionals. Journal of Organizational and End User Computing, 17(4), 4-I,II,III,IV.

Pieters, W., & Robert, v. H. (2007). Temptations of turnout and modernisation. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society, 5(4), 276-292. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14779960710846146

Peng, K. (2011). A general and efficient countermeasure to relation attacks in mix-based e-Voting. International Journal of Information Security, 10(1), 49-60. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10207-010-0122-1

Prandini, M., & Ramilli, M. (2012). A model for E-Voting systems evaluation based on international standards: definition and experimental Validation1. E - Service Journal, 8(3), 42-72,99


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